Frankfurt 2013 - MyZeil Shopping Centre
The Zeil is Frankfurt’s main shopping street. Other parts of the city may seem deserted during office hours, but when you go to the Zeil you can finally where all the people are. Essentially a pedestrian shopping district flanked on both sides with shops, for the visitor what is most interesting would be the happenings on the street. There are lots of street performers like jazz musicians, artists, and even a pianist with a concert grand. Wonder how they move the piano without ruining the tuning.
One of the main reasons we went to the Zeil was to see MyZeil Shopping Centre. Designed by Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas who is famous for the New Exhibition Centre in Milan, the MyZeil project bear a lot of similarities to the Exhibition Centre - being drapped in an organic glass skin which stretches from the roof level to the shopping centre levels below and the main street facade along the Zeil.
The facade along the main street is deceptively simple - just a rectangle covered in triangulated glass panels. The only clue to what lies inside is a hole in the facade which stretches to the roof. This intriguing whimsical gesture draws people into the building, curious to find out what is going on.
The interior of the shopping centre is similar to most other shopping centres, but punctuated by the various volumes and voids of the glass skin.
The best part of the building is the upper-most floor, where you can experience the full extent of the glass roof and see how they stretch into voids that penetrate the shopping floors below. The geometry and structure of the skin is so organic and light, seemingly devoid of normal structural logics. This is architectural virtuosity which actually works.